Why is there so much waste at
the retail level? Most likely it's that consumers tend to pick, and
naturally so, the best looking produce or the freshest milk. So
fruits and veggies that are a little less than perfect, or milk and
bread that's nearing its expiration date tends to get left behind
and becomes increasingly difficult to sell.
The good news is that this problem is gaining the spotlight and
as a result, increasingly retailers and supermarkets are trying to
come up with ways to reduce the amount of unsold food.
Here in the U.S., the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the
Food Marketing Institute, and the National Restaurant Association
have formed the Food Waste Reduction Alliance. By
improving food labeling, ordering and inventory management,
marketing of "ugly" produce, partnerships with food banks etc,
supermarkets and retailers are doing their part to reduce, recover,
and recycle food waste.
And another, simple and immediate change retailers can make is
what the Supermarket chain in France, Intermarché, did. They
recently launched a new initiative to sell aesthetically-imperfect
fruit and vegetables at a 30% discount.
While some programs may take a little longer to implement, ideas
like discounting certain foods can be simple and more immediate
ways retailers can make a difference.
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